Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mardi: Herbal-Wise

Agrimony, today’s surprisingly helpful herb, sounds like something bad.  Any word that manages to bring to mind thoughts of aggravation and alimony is getting off on the wrong foot, at least in English.  All that said, agrimony is a popular herb in hoodoo for not only deflecting jinxes, but sending them back to the person who threw them at you.  It has uses in other magickal disciplines as well, and a tie to witch-hunting.

Old wives used to plant agrimony around their homes to keep mischievous and bedeviling spirits such as goblins, sprites and so on away.  It is said that these same old wives would give their sons a wildflower bouquet to bestow upon their beloveds.  This was not a sign that Mom was happy about the potential daughter-in-law, but a test of the young woman’s character.  In among the blooms would be tucked some sprigs of agrimony, which was the bane of witches.  If the girl refused the bouquet – or worse yet dropped it – she was most probably a witch.

In modern Wicca, agrimony is used in protection sachets and spells to banish bad energy from a place or person.  As in hoodoo, the herb is thought to return hexes back to the hexer.  According to Scott Cunningham, in old ritual magick agrimony was placed under a person’s head to induce coma-like sleep.  Only when someone removed the agrimony from under the sleeping individual would they be able to wake up.

In hoodoo, dried agrimony is mixed with dried verbena and burned on charcoal to protect against a threatened jinx.  Sometimes dragon’s blood resin is added to increase the incense’s powers.  To turn away a trick that has already been laid out against you, brew a tea with agrimony and rue.  Use the strained water to wash your front and back door and stoop and throw any remaining water out your front door.

In the early days of trade with Europeans, agrimony was also brewed into a tea by some of the Great Lakes tribes.  This was then sprinkled on goods they had for sale or trade to make them attractive to potential customers.

As master herbalist Catherine Yronwode notes, agrimony is in the same family as the rose.  This herb should not be confused with cocklebur, hemp agrimony or water agrimony, which are all in the aster family.  Bonne chance ~

Header: Italian Garden Landscape by Gustav Klimt c 1913


Timmy! said...

Agrimony does sound like a cross between aggravation and alimony, Pauline...

Unfortunately, I'm fresh out of dragon’s blood resin.

Pauline said...

I've always thought so. And not to worry; I have some DB resin in the magick cupboard :)